The Video Game Industry Needs Exclusives. Here's Why:Aug 9, 2020 | 1 Votes by Mikhail 10 rate Exclusive games have always been around and to be honest, they’re good for the entire gaming industry. The following reasons are why we think so:
As a 10-year-old kid who owned the first PlayStation, I’ve always dreamed of playing Pokemon on a platform other than a Game Boy. Back then, I’ve tried asking game stores if they had a copy of “Pokemon for the PlayStation”, but alas, they never had one and I couldn’t figure out why. This was my first encounter with console exclusivity.
Although we’ve dreamed of having all games - and franchises - on all platforms, things aren’t that simple. Yes, we want to play Halo on the PS5 and we want to try out God of War on the Xbox Series X, but this won’t be a thing in the near future. The game industry needs exclusive titles to keep thriving and this might be something we’ll disagree on, please hear me out.
Competition breeds innovation
Exclusivity enables major platforms to compete in producing the best games possible.
For example, the PlayStation 4 has titles like Ghost of Tsushima and The Last of Us, while the Nintendo Switch’s heavy hitters include The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and Super Smash Bros, and Microsoft’s Xbox One is lagging behind, but it still has Halo. Moreover, we could also say smartphones are a whole different platform while PC has everything else except console exclusives.
In a way, exclusive titles are a way for Sony, Nintendo, and Microsoft to say “hey, we have great games you can only play on our console, so buy one”. With them around, the above-mentioned companies will start investing heavily in research and development to create the best products possible. In turn, we, the consumers, will have better options and experiences to immerse ourselves in.
Allows companies to target their niche audience
Although all platforms are host to a plethora of games of various genres, we can safely say they have their own niche. For example, the Vita is a JRPG machine, while the Switch is undoubtedly geared family-friendly experiences. Smartphones are for casual players and hardcore Mobile Legends, PUBG, and COD Mobile enthusiasts.
Exclusive games enable companies to target and satisfy their loyal user-base. After all, they know what their users want. Switch owners desire Mario and Pokemon games, and it wouldn’t make sense to release any of these IPs on other platforms who are geared towards a far different audience.
Makes developers’ jobs easier
It’s hard to make games for one platform and painstakingly more difficult to do so on the three consoles and the PC. With that said, different platforms have varying hardware, each having its own capabilities. It’s much easier to create a game for a sole platform since you’ll only have one console to work with. If you go multi-plat though, you’ll need more manpower and even extend the development phase. Only large studios funded by major companies like EA and 2K are capable of getting their games on all platforms upon release.
This is why you see a lot of games releasing for one hardware first, then go for others a little later on. Good examples include PlayStation-exclusives-no-longer Horizon: Zero Dawn and Death Stranding which are now on PC.
Apart from console exclusives, there’s also what we call timed exclusives. These games stay on one platform for a certain amount of time before being available on others. They may or may not be announced. Great examples include titles like Final Fantasy 7 Remake which will only be on Xbox in 2021 and Cuphead which made its way to Switch and the PS4 after a couple of years.
Why do companies engage in this? Well, we don’t have the numbers, but timed-exclusive deals involve a lot of money. Plus, this enables developers to work on a single console while getting a lot of money which can then be used to optimize the ports for other platforms.
Enables developers to create the best games possible
Finally, exclusivity enables developers to create the best games possible. Considering they’ll only be on a single platform and may be under the close watch of renowned publishers.
A good example is Sony’s PlayStation Studios. Under this umbrella are companies like Sucker Punch (Ghost of Tsushima, Infamous), Naughty Dog (The Last of Us, Uncharted), and Santa Monica Studios (God of War). We all know Sony’s exclusives are top-notch and have dominated the charts and headlines in this generation. The quality is partly due to Sony giving its studios free creative reign on their IPs and by providing ample funding and support. In turn, developers provide the best experiences possible and, of course, a lot of money to Sony’s coffers.
Overall, the exclusive games are a boon, not a bane, to the industry. It breeds innovation and competition among the major platforms, with each trying to trump one another with better titles. In addition, it enables them to target their niche audience. On the developers’ side, it provides them with more money and makes development more streamlined. Finally, exclusivity gives us fantastic games to play and experiences to dive into.
So, what do you think? Are exclusive titles good for the video game industry or do you think otherwise?